“Faces of the Journey” is a series that highlights individuals in the network engineering community. The journey is the path we take through our careers and it can be very different for each of us. While the destination is important, it’s all about the journey!
Girard Kavelines is an IT Specialist in the healthcare industry in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, USA. He has been an IT Professional for fourteen years, in roles ranging from PC Technician, IT/Sales Professional, and Network Technician, to IT Specialist. He has also owned and operated a successful IT support and consulting company! In his current role, he is a “jack of all trades” in an IT department of twelve people. Girard prides himself on being personable. In fact, he is such a people person, that he runs the new employee orientation within his organization. He sets up accounts, prepares the necessary IT equipment and provides knowledge to the new hires so they can get started in their own roles. Girard earned an Associate’s Degree in Network Administration from McCann School of Business and Technology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Network Security from Central Penn College. He has a passion for network engineering and is currently working toward a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification to be followed up by a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification. Girard shares his life and journey with his wife and FOUR children!
Alright Girard, We’ve Got Some Questions
What advice do you have for aspiring IT Professionals? Never stop learning! Change is constant in this industry. There are so many different paths to follow and today we have so many different outlets to learn than when I was first starting. Your path and your journey are all decided by you. Stay positive! Always ask questions and most importantly keep an open mind! There are many great professionals and resources out there and you’ll always have a new challenge awaiting you.
What is something you enjoy to do outside of work? I love spending time with my family. I have 4 beautiful children of all different ages, so for me, I take it in every day. From playing Minecraft, having tea parties, and chasing my one year old around, to just watching movies and holding my 3 month old. Time with them and my wife is priceless.
What is the next big thing that you are working toward? Right now, my two biggest goals are my CCNA and becoming Cisco Champion this year. They both mean a great deal to me and I know I can achieve both! Once that’s done I’ll begin focusing on my CCNP!
How do you manage your work/life balance? I believe you have to give 200% to everything you do, and with my professional & personal commitments, it’s no different. It’s managing your time as effectively as possible! With four kids, time for things can be limited. Planning is key! But, I set aside all my time for labbing, studying, etc then commit the rest of it to my family. My current regimen now is weekends anywhere from 1-3 hours of study time. Then another two or so labbing. The rest of my weekend is time with the family.
When learning something new, what methods work best for you? For me, no doubt, hands on learning is the most effective way! Especially when learning about different topologies, etc. I feel you can retain information many ways, set a good study regimen, watch videos, etc. But in my opinion the best way to fully grasp a concept is to apply it physically in a lab! Now, everyone has their own opinions and different methods that work for them and may help them learn differently, which is awesome too! I’ve always loved being able to take those concepts, power on my switches, and apply it hands on to fully grasp what I’m learning.
I obviously cannot just offer this up, but if you are ever having a rough time, just reach out to Girard for a chat! He is an incredible wealth of positivity and drive. I mean, how cool is it to be able to list “CEO” of a company on your LinkedIn profile? One of my biggest takeaways from my multiple chats with Girard is that he never sees challenges as burdens, but rather as opportunities. Girard is also always working on perfecting his craft and climbing that next step. He is currently blogging and technical writing at his site listed above in the “Follow” section. I cannot wait to hear what Girard does next. We’ll have to share a follow up when he passes the CCNA exam and becomes a Cisco Champion!